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September 1997, Week 3


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Dennis Bingham <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 16 Sep 1997 11:35:05 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (58 lines)
I missed the original post on this.  However, I agree with Jessica that
the studios should be avoided--and many smart publishers won't let authors
go near them in the first place.  Most authors and publishers, in the US
anyway, have found a pretty simple solution--the Museum of Modern Art Film
Stills Archive.  For a reasonable fee and the cost of a trip to New York,
one can usually find all the stills needed for a book.  Since these come
from MOMA with rights granted--and are often the stills put out by the
studios themselves--they are covered under fair use.  A mention in
the book that the stills come "courtesy of MOMA Film Stills Archive" takes
care of you legally.  I have known of cases where publishers
foolishly contacted studios who charged extortionist prices, or made
unreasonable demands (such as requiring the users to contact every
actor--or his/her estate--shown in the photos!), or sold rights that
covered only the US, or all three!  And all this for stills that were
originally made for promotional purposes!  Of course, I suppose it could
happen that copyright holders could withhold the stills from MOMA, just as
they can withdraw  the films themselves.  In that case, the user would be
out of luck.  But this doesn't happen often.  My publisher insisted that I
deal with MOMA for stills, and no one else.  But as Jessica suggests,
if you're looking for stills from very recent films, your friendly campus
newspaper may have press kits containing promotional production stills,
which the studios give out for publication.  As long as you credit the
issuing studio, you're clear.
Dennis Bingham
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
On Tue, 16 Sep 1997, Kino International Corporation wrote:
>   The use of stills can be tricky. I have been told that if you ask a
> studio for permission, it is VERY EXSPENSIVE. The question is, do you need
> their permission ? Most people avoid the problem by useing publicity stills
> which the studio/ distrubutor put out themselves and should not require
> clearence. If you want a specific image, it may well fall under fair use. I
> have never heard of anyone being sued over this,but I am told many
> publishers are leery . However I would avoid talking to any studio legal
> dept. at all costs.
> Good Luck
> Jessica Rosner
> Kino
> Kino International Corporation
> 333 W. 39th St. Suite 503
> New York, NY 10018
> (212)629-6880
> fax: (212)714-0871
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